Another label from another world – here is another me. Part enough of your community to acquire this label, not enough to escape another margin. Here is another me – the woman of colour within a world of grey areas.
Well, here are the colours of my women: the red of the sindoor we rarely use at home, the orange of my mother’s favourite Patiala salwar, the sight of yellow kohlapuri sandals on the metro, the blue Tupperware boxes we use to store our spices, the pink black green yellow row of saris hanging in my mother’s cupboard - the pink black green yellows of silks, cottons and chiffons, black tresses, brown tresses, the occasional rebellious red tresses. I am a blend of all the colours, sounds and scents of the heritage I was born with, resting under my fingertips. I am the artist and the muse of this masterpiece we call culture.
And yet, here is us – doomed to be the margins, doomed to always be the brown of their skin, doomed to always be coloured with that one shade in your “culturally inclusive” palette.
My ‘women of colour’ can whisper lullabies to me in three different tongues, can create a blend of spices to soothe any sore, can make the perfect cup of milk and honey tea to palliate the dull ache rainy days. They are women of many hues, tones, rhythms, fragrances and moods. They have created love out of nooks and crannies of their broken homes with walls stained with their own blood. My ‘women of colour’ break labels and boundaries more unmercifully than they break hearts.
My ‘women of colour’ are alive. They are alive. They are fighting. They are unwinding your oppressive systems faster than you will be able to create more. My ‘women of colour’ swallow a gulp of fire for every time you call them oppressed and degenerated. My ‘women of colour’ are alive. They are here. They are breathing. They are fighting. And they are radiant.
Shirin Choudhary is an 18-year-old writer, reader and lover. Besides reading, writing poems and sometimes reciting her own for an audience, she works for a non-profit based in her city on a project regarding Comprehensive Sexuality Education. She hopes to one day be able to say that she’s made a difference in this world.